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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: Tobacco Tax Likely Main Health Issue in Election

Health care issues will play a role but will not be “a decisive factor in who people decide to vote for,” Ruth Holton-Hodson, director of public policy at the California Wellness Foundation, said in an interview for a California Healthline special audio report.

According to Holton-Hodson, state residents are more concerned with issues such as taxes and identifying a gubernatorial candidate “who’s going to move California in the right direction.” In addition, because both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides are “closer to the center than to the far end,” the state’s eventual health care policies likely will not be “radically different” depending on who wins the 2006 gubernatorial election, Holton-Hodson said.

Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, said that he thinks Proposition 86, which would increase the state tobacco tax by $2.60 per pack to fund health programs, will be the major health care issue in the fall elections, as both hospitals and tobacco companies have a “major stake” in the outcome (Rebillot, California Healthline, 9/6).

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